The differences between the Roman Catholic church and Eastern Orthodox is that it is not run by the Papal system. Each bishop has a territory (see) over which he governs. His main duty is to make sure the traditions and practices of the Church are preserved. Bishops are equal in authority and cannot interfere in the jurisdiction of another bishop. Administratively, these bishops and their territories are organized into various autocephalous (self headed Bishop does not answer to a higher bishop) groups or synods of bishops who gather together at least twice a year to discuss the state of affairs within their respective sees. While bishops and their autocephalous synods have the ability to administer guidance in individual cases, their actions do not usually set precedents that affect the entire Church. Bishops are almost always chosen from the monastic ranks and must remain unmarried.
Therefore salvation consists of the restoration of the full image Christ the incarnate God, came to earth to restore the icon of God in man. The major themes of Orthodoxy then are rebirth, recreation, and the transfiguration of man. The church is not a formalized institution, it is the mystical body of Christ.
It is the same practice when they enter the home of an Eastern Orthodox believer. On the eastern wall of his house in the corner of his bedroom or living room. He will greet the icons first by crossing himself and bowing, then after that he will greet his host.Though the icons the heavenly beings manifest themselves to the worshipping congregation and unite with it. In Orthodoxy the idea of image is the key to understanding the ways of God with man. Man is created in the image of God he carries the icon of God within Himself.
Because of the divisions in the church over traditions and doctrines Constantine took it upon himself to settle these matters. To show the world that the church was united. He called the first general Ecumenical Council at Nicea in 325. they had seven such councils and the emperor presided over them all. The history of the councils, ranging over five centuries gave us the elevating writings of the Fathers and the creeds of the ecumenical assemblies. In 395 the beginning of the division became apparent when Emperor Theodosius the Great on his deathbed divided the empire between his two sons. Honorious received the west and Arcadius the east.
Justinian rebuilt the temple that Constantine had the Holy Wisdom he boasted that he had outdone Solomon in the Bible. It was a monument to Constantine and Justinian were portrayed the one offering to the Mother of God a model of Constantinople, and the other the model of the church.The visible representative of God within it, who performed His will and dispensed His blessings was the emperor. Thus the boundaries were removed.
John Mansour (730-760) explained that an image was never of the same substance as its original, but merely imitated it. An icons only significance is as a copy and reminder of the original. His philosophy came from Plato. Although it was wrong to worship icons the presence of an icon of Christ could instruct and assist the believer in the worship of the true Christ. Icons should be honored and venerated in much the same way as the Bible or the symbol of the cross. John cleared the way for the acceptance of the icons of mary, the apostles, the saints, and even the angels. Patriarch Tarasius (784-806) the seventh general counsel of 350 bishops assembled at Nicea and backed the position presented by John of Damascus.
SOME WHERE BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH ROMAN CATHOLICISM VS. EASTERN ORTHODOX 1
EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH• Officially called The Orthodox Catholic Church. Is the second largest Christian Church in the world with over 225-300 million members. Primarily located Eastern and South Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. It teaches that it is the one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church established by Jesus Christ and his Apostles almost 2,000 years ago.• Roman Catholic in birth, this church really came to power under King Constantine when he moved the capital of Rome to Constantinople. This became the hub of the new Byzantine civilization. 2
THE EXCOMMUNICATION• In the year 1054 A.D Cardinal Humbert and two other representatives of Pope Leo IX walked into the Church of Holy Wisdom and placed a “bull” on the alter. This was an official document from the Pope excommunicating the Eastern Orthodox Church from the Roman Catholic Church.• There were three major divisions in Christianity. 1. Roman Catholicism 2. Eastern Orthodoxy 3. Protestantism. The one most Christians in Europe and North America if they think of Orthodox Christians at all think that Eastern Orthodox as the Roman Catholic Church without the Pope. 3
THE CLUE TO ORTHODOXY• Eastern Orthodoxy today is about 15 distinct churches mostly in eastern Europe, bound together by a common faith and a common history.• Western Christians are inclined to understand the fundamental relationship between God and man in legal terms. Man is obliged to meet the demands of a just God. A believer sins, and a priest determines what payment he owes to God. In case it is not adequate payment in purgatory will make the necessary restitution.• Eastern Orthodox theology is the incarnation of God and the re-creation of man. When man sins he does not violate the divinely established legal relationship between God and man; he reduces the divine likeness, he inflicts a wound in the original image of God. 4
ICONIC WORSHIP• The Orthodox believer who enters his church to attend services goes first to the iconostasis the wall of paintings that separates the sanctuary from the nave (alter). There he kisses the icons before taking his place in the congregation. Micah 5:13• An Orthodox believer does not consider these images of Jesus and the saints the works of men but as manifestations of the heavenly ideal. They are a kind of window between the earthly and the celestial worlds. Leviticus 26:1 5
THE FALL OF THE CHURCH• Constantine’s conversion was vital for the development of Orthodoxy because he created for the first time an alliance between state and church. This marked a great change in the church.• To the west this was “the fall” of the church from the heights of Christian freedom. For Eastern Christians Constantine remains the holy initiator of the Christian world, he was a hero in the victory of light over darkness. The emperor in the world was the same as the sun in heaven, he began to be worshipped. 6
GOD’S WILL IN HUMAN SOCIETY• Constantine believed in the state as the bearer of religion because it directly reflected and expressed the divine will for the world in human society. The Eastern Orthodox Church at that time believed completely is absolutism-one person’s total rule and control.• The symbol of the new era for the church in society was Constantinople, the new capital of the empire. It was seen as the holy city, the center of the first Christian empire. The church made Constantine the thirteenth Apostle. 7
JUSTINIAN AND THE REMOVAL OF BOUNDARIES• Under Justinian (527-565) the eastern part of the roman empire began to blend together Roman law, Christian faith, Greek philosophy, and the Orient. The source of his whole theory, the unity of the empire and the Christian religion.• In official Byzantine doctrine the state was compared to a body not in this early Christian sense. The state itself was conceived to be the only community established by God, and it embraced the whole life of man. 8
THE CONFLICT OVER ICONS• This conflict raged for over a century. The dispute was whether to use icons at all. On a deeper level the dispute was what was holy and what was not. Things that were considered holy: 1. Christian clergy 2. Church buildings 3. The martyrs and heroes of the faith.• People failed to distinguish between the holy object or holy person and the spiritual reality it stood for. They fell into idolatry. In the early eighth century Emperor Leo III (717-741) launched an attack on the use of icons. 9
EAST AGAINST WEST• As time passed differences between the two Christian churches began to widen. They quibbled about one word in the creed; they insisted on different practices for Lent, they disagreed over the type of bread to use in celebrating the Eucharist. In 1054 the Pope Leo sent the Cardinal to work out an agreement with the emperor.• In time hordes of barbarians were followed by the spread of Islam in the late Middle Ages the original territories of Greek Orthodoxy were reduced to Western Turkey, the Balkans, and Cyprus. In 1453 even Constantine’s city itself fell to the Islamic Turks. 10
WHAT EASTERN ORTHODOX BELIEVE• 1. That there are three Divine Persons in God, distinct, yet equal. 2. That the Father is the head of the Trinity, neither begotten, nor proceeds from anyone. 3. That the Son is begotten from the Father, of the very same essence (omoousios) of the Father. He is God and also truly Man like us, because He assumed human nature from the Blessed Virgin Mary, except for sin. He died on the Cross to save mankind, and He ascended into Heaven. He will come again to "judge the living and the dead". 4. That the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. 5. That the world is not self-created but is the work of one God. 6. That there are Seven Sacraments: Baptism, Holy Chrismation, Holy Eucharist, Holy Confession, Ordination, Marriage, and Holy Unction. 7. That no one can be saved unless he is baptized. 8. That the Holy Scriptures and Holy Tradition are of equal value, and that they complete each other. 9. That God assigned to every man an Angel to guide and help him. 10. That after death, mans body goes to earth, and the soul, which is immortal, is presented before God and, according to its actions, pre-enjoys happiness or pre- suffers punishment until the General Judgment. 11. That of all saints, the Mother of God has a supreme grace, and that the veneration given to icons and relics relates not to the sacred images as such, but to the person whom they represent. 12. That God knows which road man will take, but He does not predestine him. 11
WHAT EASTERN ORTHODOX DOES NOT BELIEVE• That early Christian traditions from the apostles, which deal with stories, lessons, rituals, and Bible interpretations, are either inferior to Scripture or should be totally rejected. 2. That Scripture alone reveals all the doctrines necessary for the Faith. 3. That Scripture can be interpreted flawlessly by the help of the Holy Spirit, even in opposition to early Christian doctrines and to other so-called flawless interpretations. 4. That there are only two Sacraments- Baptism and Communion. 5. That the Heavenly Church of the saints has no direct connection with the earthly Church, so that prayers for the dead and prayers to and from the saints are regarded as useless or as heretical. 6. That monasticism, the institution of monks and nuns, is of little or no value to ones salvation and to the edification of the Church. 7. That the Church is a collection of invisible Christians on earth, rather than the visible Church of the apostles, that is, all the faithful united in faith, worship, practice, and doctrine through the 7 Sacraments and the single apostolic interpretation of the Truth. 8. That eternal salvation occurs at a single moment during ones life on earth. 9. That eternal salvation occurs at the moment a person feels convicted in his faith in Christ. 10. That once a Christian feels convicted in his faith, then his eternal salvation can never be lost. 11. That a Christian can feel convicted of his eternal salvation. 12. That faith alone leads to eternal salvation, and that the eradication of ones sins, the growth of good works, love, hope, perseverance, holy knowledge, and all the other virtues 12 are secondary to faith in the matter of eternal salvation.
WHAT EASTERN ORTHODOX DOES NOT BELIEVE CONT.• 13. That the union of the bodys senses with the soul in worship is of little or no value in the communion of man with the Lord. 14. That the early Church had long ago been abolished, changed, altered, falsified, and/or destroyed by new and evil doctrines which gave rise to a need for later church reformers to restore the original apostolic Church. 15. That all genuine Christians are mystical priests, and that an earthly succession of apostolic priests is either inferior or totally unnecessary for the edification of the Faith. 16. That the consecrated Bread and Wine of the Eucharist are merely symbols of Jesus Christ, and that all the Sacraments are simply symbolic gestures of eternal salvation. 17. That ancient rituals in worship have little or no value in the spiritual life. 18. That Confession does not need to be done before a priest on earth, but rather to God alone. 19. That eternal salvation can be easily and equally granted to a person no matter which church one belongs to and no matter which set of doctrines one believes in. 20. That the early Church, including Eastern Orthodoxy, made serious mistakes in teaching the Faith, interpreting Scripture, and applying the original Gospel of the apostles, especially so that later correction was required. 13